By Dan Primack
March 18, 2011

Venture capital pioneer Jean Deleage has passed away at the age of 70, from complications related to colon cancer.

Deleage was a French citizen who joined Sofinnova Partners in the early 1970s, and several years later opened up the firm’s San Francisco office. He founded Burr Egan Deleage & Co. in 1970, which for more than 20 years was one of the nation’s leading, and largest, venture capital groups. The firm ultimately split into four successor groups: Alta Partners, Alta Communications, Alta Berkley and Polaris Venture Partners – with Deleage sticking with healthcare-focused Alta Partners.

In an emailed statement, Alta Partners said:

It is with deep sadness that we report the loss of one of our founding partners and an icon in the venture capital industry, Dr. Jean Deleage.  Jean died at his home early this morning after battling rapidly advancing colon cancer for the past several months.  He will be sorely missed by us and all those that knew him. Jean was 70 years old and is survived by his wife, Josette, his four sons and nine grandchildren.

Former partner Bill Egan added: “Jean was ‘one of a kind’ that we will miss greatly. He was not only a great investor and partner but an even better friend.”

Our deepest condolences to Jean’s friends and family. When memorial information is available, we’ll be sure to pass it on.

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